date Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 1:55 PM
subject "Campaign Lies, Media Double Standards" (NJ 9/20)
Dear Stuart Taylor,
I'm certainly not the only reader who appreciates your genuinely balanced effort ("Campaign Lies, Media Double Standards," National Journal 9/20) to cut through the lies of the current presidential campaign but regrets that you draw the wrong conclusion. Instead of "no longer trusting the major newspapers or television networks to provide consistently accurate and fair reporting and analysis of all the charges and countercharges" you should rejoice in the fact that the press, for the first time in long-term memory, is actually doing its job by scrutinzing the claims and record of candidates who lie, shamelessly and repeatedly, even when their lies have been refuted. As recently as Sarah Palin's interview with Sean Hannity last night, for example, the Governor has still not come clean on the fact that she supported the bridge to nowhere before Congress killed it. (And she kept the money!)
In fact, some of your fact-checking needs checking. First, Charlie Gibson's purportedly "distorting Palin's meaning" about the Iraq War being "a task that is from God" is nothing of the sort. What is the effective difference between stating that the war is a task from God and praying that it is? Simply that a little doubt has replaced certainty. The effect is the same: that God has justified this terrible ill men have wrought. Hardly the "unremarkable exhortation" you make it out to be, it's cut from merely a slightly humbler cloth than this current president's presumption to be the deliverer of God's gift of freedom -- at the barrel of a gun -- to the rest of the world.
Second, Obama's claim that McCain "is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq" is indeed less than accurate. McCain wants a permanent military presence in Iraq, but his qualifying condition -- "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed" -- rests on an utterly flawed analogy. "We've been in Japan for 60 years," McCain argues, "We've been in South Korea 50 years or so." Those were conventional wars between relatively symmetrical enemies that ended with conventional treaties, armistices or cease fires; the Global War on Terror as currently conceived and waged cannot even contemplate these things. To the extent that McCain cannot articulate what "victory" in Iraq means or how we secure it, he remains delusional as ever.